The Queen has led members of the royal family in commemorating the 75th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Britain. The monarch stood on the balcony of Buckingham Palace along with senior royals, including her husband the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of York and Prince William, to watch a majestic fly-past in remembrance of one of the most pivotal battles of WW2.
Thousands of spectators and pedestrians looked to the skies as Spitfires, Hurricanes and modern-day Typhoons cruised over central London. Among the guests invited to witness the flypast at Buckingham Palace were six surviving pilots from the Battle of Britain.
CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE
The Queen watched the flypast with senior members of the royal family, including Prince William
The Battle of Britain was the German air force's attempt to gain air superiority over the RAF – their ultimate failure was one of the turning points of the war, and prevented Germany from invading Britain. The battle lasted throughout the summer of 1940. It was the first major battle in history fought entirely in the air and was the first significant strategic defeat for the Nazis in World War II.
Squadron Leader Duncan Mason, who led the flypast in a Spitfire, said: "For us, taking part today was an incredible honour.
The flypast was held to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Britain
"Events like these don't often happen, but today gave us – the RAF and the nation – the opportunity to commemorate and recognise extraordinary feats 75 years ago. Knowing six Battle of Britain veteran pilots were watching us flying the same aircraft they won the battle in was humbling, and I hope we did them proud."
The Queen watched the commemorative flypast on the same balcony where her father George VI and Queen Elizabeth stood to greet delighted crowds on VE Day on 8 May 1945, signalling the end of World War II in Europe.